Thursday, April 24, 2014

South Africa

South Africa Location Map

The Republic of South Africa, also known by other official names, is a country located at the southern tip of the continent of Africa. The South African coast stretches 2,798 kilometres, and borders both the Atlantic and Indian oceans. It is estimated that close to 50 Million people live in the nine provinces of South Africa and its largest city is Johannesburg.

Described as the ‘Adventure capital of the World’ South Africa is best known for its wildlife safari parks, diverse culture, and hot climate. South Africa’s scenic wonders are legendary. From Table Mountain to God’s Window, Table Mountain to Kruger National Park, the mountains, forests, coasts and deserts are unforgettable.

With over 500 golf courses in South Africa, many of which are recognised amongst the best in the world, this country is fast becoming one of the premier holiday destinations. The weather is also a major attraction, with year round stunning conditions to play. Players can choose to play on coastal courses or in the mountainous regions where the ball flies further – the choice is yours.

The country can be divided into eight distinct golf regions, each of which have their own particular characteristics:

Cape Town and Western Cape Golf Courses

Arabella Golf Club is a classic parkland course, designed by South African golf course architect Peter Matkovich. With spectacular views across the Bot River lagoon and across the Kogelberg mountain range, this course impresses from the first tee to the last. The Arabella Golf Club has played home to the Nelson Mandela Invitational charity golf tournament from 2003.

Fancourt Links Golf Club is considered to be the most impressively designed and constructed course in South Africa. Designed by legendary Sth African golfer Gary Player, this course will test the golfers of every standard. The Links has some extraordinary holes, like the par-3 second, with its bunker in the heart of the enormous green.

Fancourt Montagu Golf Course is located in George – Garden Route and is a much celebrated parkland course formerly ranked as the number-one golf course in South Africa. As with The Outeniqua, and Links courses, the Montagu course was designed by Gary Player. Play is restricted to members, their guests and resort guests, so there is ample time and space to savour the Fancourt golfing experience.

Although no individual can lay claim to the overall design of Pearl Valley Golf Club, the masterplan was shaped by the vision of Jack Nicklaus. To meet the ‘Golden Bear’s’ uncompromising standards of golf course design and aesthetic beauty, a combination of the intense colours of the greens and fairways, together with the brilliant white river sand lining the bunkers was carefully planned, to make Pearl Valley the most visually spectacular golf course in the country. Every hole is played against the spectacular backdrop of the mountains surrounding the estate and all are challenging due to the bunkers and fast greens.

Pezula Country Club Resort is built high up on the cliff tops of the East Knysna Head. The 18 hole Championship Golf Course designed by Ron Fream and David Dale, runs like an emerald ribbon through the olive greens of its pristine Southern Cape fynbos surroundings. Set against the gentle background of the Outeniqua Mountains, the Sinclair Nature Reserve and the indigenous Knysna Forest. The multi award-winning course rates amongst the best and the most scenic in the world. The course offers a golf experience that is both rewarding and challenging. The succession of forest, cliff and sea locations, changing elevations and clever bunkering delights golfers as much as the challenge of playing a course which calls for the full range of shots.

Steenberg Golf Course, designed by Peter Matkovich, takes full advantage of natural features and hazards and is rated as one of the top three courses to visit in South Africa. Nestled in the crook of the Constantiaberg Mountains, the estate is a piece of time-crafted perfection some 3 centuries in the making. The 18 hole championship golf course meanders though the vineyards, pine forests and gentle waterways. The course features four distinct areas, wetlands, parklands, the Cape Flats and Fynbos.

Eastern Cape

St Francis Links at St Francis Bay designed by Jack Nicklaus will challenge all who play it and reward those who respect it. The layout combines every element of shot making with its undulating terrain, greens and surrounds as well as its variation in length and direction.

Humewood Country Club Golf Course is one of South Africa’s top-rated golf clubs. A true Links course, Humewood has hosted numerous PGA events, including the South African Open. Situated on the sand dunes on the shores of Algoa Bay, Port Elizabeth, the fairways are exposed, undulating and wide to compensate for strong winds. Bunkers are few with steep faces, greens are firm and fast, the rough is thick coastal bush and there are no water hazards.

KwaZulu Natal Golf Coast

Situated along the shores of the Indian Ocean, Durban Golf Club is a semi-links course carved into the dunes. The course is both scenic and demanding, and to score well you have to play well. Extremely challenging to the most skilled golfer, the course will be enjoyed, but rarely mastered. Overlooking the course is the classic Cape Dutch style Club House. Its timeless grace has made the name Durban Country Club synonymous with relaxed elegance.

Selborne Country Club is perfectly positioned on the sub-tropical coast of KwaZulu Natal, and was built in the grounds of an old colonial home. Selborne is now one of the top courses in South Africa. The bird-life, lush vegetation and abundance of water make for a beautiful setting. Selborne has built a reputation as the "Augusta of South Africa”.

With panoramic views of the Indian Ocean, The Prince’s Grant Country Club has been designed to capture the gracious colonial life-style of early Natal. Set out on a magnificent tract of indigenous Natal coastal bush 75km north of Durban, Princes Grant Golf Course Estate and its magnificent Club House are the jewels in the crown of the Dolphin Coast of KwaZulu Natal Province in South Africa. Prince's Grant Golf Course rates in the "top twenty" of South African golf courses and certainly one of the country's very best coastal courses, golfers will be assured of a truly memorable golfing experience.

Freestate Golf Courses

Vaal de Grace Parys Golf Course takes its name from the city of Paris, France, due to the similarity between the Vaal River and the River Seine, which flows through Paris. The golf course was designed by Chris Dreyer and Nick Price and is a challenging and most enjoyable course that offers players beautiful views of the river and mountains. A unique golf experience in every respect, Vaal de Grace is Nick Price’s 1st signature golf course in South Africa.

Bloemfontain Country Club is 115 years old and a member based club that has hosted the South African Open on two occasions and an exhibition match between Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus in 1966. Bloemfontain has also hosted the Vodacom Origins of Golf Tournament since 2004.

Northwest and Sun City Golf Courses

The Gary Player Golf Course, Sun City Resort was designed by the legendary Gary Player himself and is regarded as one of the best golf courses in the world. Stretching over more than 7000 meters, it is definitely one of the world's longest golf courses. All 18 holes are challenging, boasting plenty of bunkers and water hazards in the shape of rivers and dams. This tree-lined course is acknowledged as a challenging and demanding course, to be enjoyed by both novices and professionals alike.

The Lost City Country Club, lies within the Sun City entertainment complex in the semi-desert of the North-West Province of South Africa. A unique experience this course offers spectacular views across the bushveld. With its desert style design and the contrast between green fairways and the surrounding bush this is a course with great appeal. Also to be noted are the use of bunkers and extensive water-features - and at the 13th hole 38 crocodiles await.

Pecanwood Golf and Country Club is situated on the southern shore of the Hartbeesport Dam en route to Sun City and north of Johannesburg. Overlooking the Hartebeespoort Dam and the oldest reported mountain range in the world, The Magaliesberg Mountains, Pecanwood offers 18 holes of outstanding golf.

The Kruger, Mpumalanga Golf Courses

According to Golf Digest, South Africa's 'Top 100 Greatest Golf Courses' (February issue 2009), Leopard Creek Golf Course has been ranked the Number 1 Course in South Africa.  Planned to be both a challenge for the best golfers and fun for the average player, Leopard Creek Golf Course was meticulously laid out in 1995 by the owner of the premises, Johann Rupert and Gary Player. Set in an exceptional and unique location, innovative architectural and landscaping techniques ensure that the golf course is in harmony with the environment, while lakes and small streams have been diverted through the development to create scenic vistas and interesting golf strategies. 

Nelspruit Golf Club is located in the capital of the province of Mpumalanga. The city of Nelspruit lies in the fertile valley of the Crocodile River, 330km (205.06 miles) east of Johannesburg in the hot and humid Lowveld. Malelane Gate, southern access to the Kruger Park, is about 60km (37.28 miles) away.  Nelspruit Golf Club is an attractive Lowveld layout that has risen spectacularly in the Golf Digest rankings over the past few years. In 2004 it made the biggest climb of any course in the Top 100, leaping 26 places from #96 to #70. And in 2006 it broke its specified goal of breaking into the top 50 when ranked #47.  Nelspruit is famous for hosting the annual Jock of the Bushveld event, considered the biggest amateur tournament of its kind in the world. Started in 1968, it has grown to the extent where some 800 competitors play more than 2000 rounds during a week in May.   

The Kruger, Limpopo Golf Courses

Elements Golf Club has been un-officially positioned in the top-5 courses in South Africa by Golf Digest SA. It is truly a unique setting, with wildlife and a championship course only 90 minutes from Johannesburg International Airport, yet totally exclusive and serene, true Africa.

Hans Merensky Country Club borders the Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga - a par 72 championship golf course where an array of wildlife can be spotted whilst playing a game of golf. The legendary Bob Grimsdell designed this unique course, which extends over a vast area of indigenous bush, interspersed with tranquil pools and greens. There is not a single weak hole, but from the forward trees, the novice is sure to thoroughly enjoy the round.

Legends at Entabeni Safari Conservancy Golf Course presents a world first, namely a championship golf course designed by 18 of the world’s top golfers. The longest golf course in South Africa, this course provides all golfers, irrespective of their handicap, the experience of a true African challenge. The course plays at 6,534 metres for daily play but is capable of being extended to 7,748 metres for tournaments, making it one of the longest in the world. The pristine bushveld environment has been preserved and the course remains one of the most environmentally sensitive in Africa. 

Gauteng Golf Courses | Pretoria Golf Courses | Johannesburg Golf Courses

The World Atlas of Golf, which lists the great courses and how they are played, features just two South African clubs on its hallowed pages. One is Durban Country Club and the other is Royal Johannesburg and Kensington Country Club, which was established more than 100 years ago. With two courses – The East and West Courses, this golf club has hosted 7 South African Open Championships (on the East Course) and numerous other Tour events. The two courses are quite different in design but equally as enjoyable to play.

The Zwartkop Country Club course is built around the Hennops River which players must cross 12 times in the course of a round. It has long been a tournament venue for both professional and amateur events, and is also the permanent site for the annual ICL International, which forms part of the FNB Tour. The course is not overly long and the greens are small and therefore allow for tight and demanding pin placements.

Pretoria Country Club was founded in 1910 and nestles in the scenic beauty of Waterkloof, one of the city’s most prestigious suburbs. Over the years the Pretoria Country Club has become a landmark in Pretoria. It is renowned as the quality sports and social venue set in magnificent surroundings. The back nine, which is noted for its big and beautiful willow trees, is particularly challenging with the 13th (400 metres) and the 15th (380 metres) both somewhat punishing par-fours where water is in play with both the tee shot as well as the approach shot. 

Useful facts and figures for this region

Season
(Months)
Min Temp
(C/F)
Max Temp
(C/F)
Sunrise
Sunset
Spring
(Sep/Oct/Nov)
13/55
25/77 
5.35am 
6.15pm 
Summer
(Dec/Jan/Feb) 
14/57 
26/79 
5.30am 
7.05pm 
Autumn
(Mar/Apr/May)
 6/43
20/68 
6.25am 
5.50pm 
Winter
(Jun/Jul/Aug)
5/41 
19/66 
6.55am 
5.35pm 
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